Born in Italy, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is often credited with the creation of the optical telescope, though in truth he improved on existing models. The astronomer (also mathematician, physicist and philosopher) turned the new observational tool toward the heavens, where he discovered the four primary moons of Jupiter (now known as the Galilean moons), as well as the rings of Saturn. Though a model of the Earth circling the sun was first proposed by Copernicus, it took some time before it became widely accepted. Galileo is most widely known for defending the idea several years after Kepler had already calculated the path of planets, and Galileo wound up under house arrest at the end of his lifetime because of it
Building on the work of those who had gone before him, English astronomer Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) is most famous for his work on forces, specifically gravity. He calculated three laws describing the motion of forces between objects, known today as Newton's laws..
In the early 20th century, German physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) became of of the most famous scientists ever after proposing a new way of looking at the universe that went beyond current understanding. Einstein suggested that the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe, that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant, and that space and time are linked in an entity known as space-time, which is distorted by gravity.